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Jackie Coogan: The World's Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood's Legendary Child Star Paperback – Feb 23 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press; Reprint edition (Feb. 23 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810859114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810859111
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.2 x 21.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #927,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


A constant surprise and a compulsive read. Highly recommended. (Kevin Brownlow)

Diana Serra Cary has written the most penetrating and perceptive biography yet on a child star.... She accomplishes this because she knows first-hand what it was like growing up famous in the 1920s and having the adoration of the movie-going public.... The author's style is irresistible.... Her sprinkling of vaudeville jargon makes that period in life more vivid than an ordinary retelling by a less informed writer. She supplements her insider info with interviews she has conducted with Coogan's personal friends, family and coworkers.... This is an extremely well-written, well thought out, meticulously researched volume....No other writer could have done Jackie Coogan justice. How I wish there were more writers like Diane Serra Cary. (Laura Wagner Classic Images)

Thoroughly researched and highly detailed. (Union Tribune)

Jackie Coogan's story has been rescued, presented with great skill and pathos... (Tom Nolan The L A Times Book Review)

Best known for his role as Charlie Chaplin's sidekick in The Kid (1921), Jackie Coogan achieved stardom and considerable wealth before the age of 10. He later sued his parents (unsuccessfully) in an attempt to recover his squandered fortune. In this biography, Cary describes Coogan's private life and examines the conduct of his parents. A full-time writer and professional speaker, Cary is a former child star who was known as "Baby Peggy." This reprint is the first paperback edition of a volume originally published in 2003. (Reference and Research Book News, May 2007)

Diana Serra Cary understands child stars, having been there herself, but she also brings research and literary flair to her depiction of Jackie Coogan and the era that crowned him its Boy King. (Ronald L. Davis, author of The Glamour Factory and Professor Emeritus of History, Southern Methodist University)

About the Author

Diana Serra Cary is the former child star known as Peggy-Jean Montgomery. She is currently a full-time writer and professional speaker. In 2002 she received The Hubbard Award by the Niles Essanay Museum Association for her contributions to film history. In 1996 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cinecon. She is the author of numerous books including Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa2363b10) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa23f099c) out of 5 stars Life of Jackie April 2 2007
By So. Calif book reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a good book and easy and fast to read. It mainly focuses on the very early film making of Jackie, and then goes into his later years. The only thing that makes me wonder about authors of these biographies (of which I read MANY), is when their information is not correct, and then I wonder a bit what else might be not quite the truth. In this respect, I refer to a couple of references which the average reader might say "who even cares", but what I am saying here is that if this information is incorrect, then what else hasn't been researched thoroughly or completely and happens to be wrong? Are we getting the real truth? My questions here refers to when Jack Coogan died, and the author says that he was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Culver City. Calvary is in East L.A. (where Jack is), and Culver City is where another Catholic cemetery is located. So we have not good research here. Then, after Jackie died, the book says he was "laid to rest at Holy Cross Mausoleum, near the crypt that held the remains of Jack Coogan Sr." But before it says he's at Calvary, now it's Holy Cross. And I do happen to know the truth. Jack is at Calvary, but Jackie is at Holy Cross. So, maybe trivial to some, but like I say, whatother information may not be the real truth. Another bit of the book that disturbed me was when the auto accident happened that killed Jack and injured Jackie. She says that after the accident the mother was notified at 5 PM, and that immediately his stepfather chartered a plane in Los Angeles, which consisted of his mother, their doctor and 4 other people and when they arrived in San Diego they were led by police escort the 59 miles to the acident area. She makes it sounds like this was accomplished in a very brief time period, but honestly, chartering a plane and getting 6 or more people to the airport and flying to San Diego and then driving 59 miles of rugged road would take an awfully long time, many hours I would think. They would have arrived at 2 in the morning or something. This isn't very believable. But it's a good book and I liked it. Jackie was fortunate to live out his life and die a natural, as he lived some pretty fast years.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa24aad2c) out of 5 stars Nothing but the best Jan. 16 2013
By Commando Big - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great read and what a story. You won't be able to put it down. Something for those cold evenings by the fire.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa24aa7f8) out of 5 stars Jackie Coogan's Life Story Aug. 6 2004
By M - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Diana Serra Cary was once know as Baby Peggy in the 1920's. Mrs. Cary must have done exhaustive research into the life of fellow child star Jackie Coogan. She also reveals a crime that was committed during Coogan's college years. Jackie Coogan: The World's Boy King is aptly titled. Coogan's parents were Vaudeville actors. Charles Chaplin was searching for a child to work in one of his pictures. Adorable 6 year old Jackie got the part. Until he hit the awkward age, Jackie was making millions of dollars. There were no laws during that era about child labor or whether the child would benefit in adulthood from a working childhood. Jackie was mobbed all over the world. Since the pictures he made were silent, the subtitles could be changed for every country. Naturally, this greatly effected the child. During his teenage years he was in an automobile crash with 3 other people. Jackie was the only survivor. His father had died.

When it came time for Jackie to inherit his trust fund he discovered that he had no right to it under the law. His Mother, now remarried met Jackie in court to fight over his childhood earnings. The public was horrified to learn that Jackie under old fashioned laws was not entitled to one red cent. This is how the famous Coogan law was brought into effect. At this time Jackie was married to Betty Grable. He was terribly cruel to Betty. Continuously drunk one night he urinated all over his wife. Unable to find work because of being black listed by Mayor, Coogan enlisted in the military. Later in life he would become known as Uncle Fester on the Adam's Family.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2330918) out of 5 stars fun and interesting Aug. 25 2008
By Comedy Snob - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The subject of this book is fascinating. While I was reading this well written book, I kept thinking, 'this would make a great movie bio'.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa232c39c) out of 5 stars KEPT ME SPELLBOUND! June 9 2010
By Janice Aube Titus - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow! What a fabulous read! Such a great writer...and knows her facts inside out. I hurried and bought two more of this writer's books and am amazed at her talent. Thank you for your invaluable gifts to the world!